Spooky Halloween Cocktails

Happy Halloween! It’s been a busy few weeks. I’m in the process of selling my condo, buying a house, packing, and enjoying bonding with my daughter while on maternity leave. We’ll be settled into our new house by the time I go back to work in December. And, i’m really excited to cook and entertain in my new kitchen. The kitchen is brand new and open to a family room so i’ll finally be able to cook while entertaining and not have to be all by myself in the kitchen when guests come over.

Here is a photo of the three of us all dressed up for Antonio’s company Halloween party. Adriana has such a happy demeanor and was so excited to put on her costume. We feel so fortunate and adore her so much.

Halloween

Just in time for your Halloween parties tonight and for upcoming holiday gatherings, BevMo!’s cocktail expert, Jordan Catapano, has brewed up some frightful concoctions that are a real treat! If you’re looking for inspiration for your holiday gathering, there is a spine-chillingly delicious Boo Blizzard Cocktail and a creative Pumpkin Marshmallow Martini, perfect for the pumpkin spice-loving ghoul in your life.

Pumpkin Marshmallow Martini_2

Pumpkin Marshmallow Martini

2 ounces Fulton’s Harvest Pumpkin Pie Cream Liqueur
2 ounces Pinnacle Marshmallow Vodka
½ Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp canned pumpkin puree
Dash Ground cinnamon
Dash Ground cloves
Halloween Pumpkin Peeps for Garnish

Directions
Fill a martini shaker with ice. Add the Fulton’s, Pinnacle vodka, honey, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and cloves, and shake to mix. Strain into a glass, then garnish with a skewer of Halloween pumpkin Peeps.

Boo Blizzard 4

Boo Blizzard Cocktail
2 cups Dolce de Leche Ice Cream
1 ounce Kahlua
1 ounce Pinnacle Marshmallow Vodka
4 Oreo Cookies – for gluten free, use Glutino’s Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies
1 White Ghost Peeps
Straws

Directions
Add the ice cream, Kahlua, and Pinnacle marshmallow vodka to a shaker. Stir until the spirits are mixed in and the ice cream is soft. Pour into a small glass and cover the top with crushed Oreos. Impale the Peeps with a straw, sink it into the cookie crumble, and serve.

Photos and recipes used with permission from BevMo!. For more great recipes, visit BevMo!’s Thirsty Times Blog

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Sausage Kale Soup

Sausage Kale Soup Gluten Free Paleo Recipe

I love fall and I love soups – especially this Sausage and Kale soup. Even though it’s still hot in Southern California, fall is definitely in the air especially at night. I think most people already know how good for you kale is so i’ll skip that lecture. You’re welcome. I wouldn’t say i’m a fan of kale which is another reason I like this recipe so much. It doesn’t taste like you are eating kale or even something that is really good for you. This is a super easy recipe that is so fast to make. And, great for freezing the leftovers for nights when you don’t feel like cooking but still want something homemade, healthy and delicious. It is also an awesome one pot meal made all from items you can find at Trader Joe’s.

Sausage Kale Soup Gluten Free Paleo Recipe

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp Crushed Garlic
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 White Onion Diced
1 Package Un-cooked Chicken Sausage, Casing Removed
6 Cups Chicken Stock
4-5 Cups Kale, Cut & Washed
Kosher Salt to taste – about 1 tsp.

Instructions:
1. Saute garlic, onions, and olive oil until onions are transparent
2. Add sausage and cook through breaking into small pieces. I use a potato masher to break apart the sausage as it cooks.
3. Add chicken stock
4. Bring to a boil then reduce to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes
5. Add kale and salt. I serve quickly after adding the kale so it is still crispy.

Sausage Kale Soup Gluten Free Paleo Recipe

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Antonio’s Moscow Mule Recipe

Moscow Mule Recipe

Maybe it’s the ginger that makes the moscow mule so good? Or it could be the adorable copper mugs that make them so delicious? I happen to be a huge fan of ginger and the ginger beer, mint and lime combination is so refreshing and makes this moscow mule recipe my new favorite cocktail. The moscow mule was a drink that became popular in the 50’s but seems to recently be making a comeback. At least at our house it is. Antonio has much more patience than I do in general and especially when it comes to perfecting cocktail recipes. After trying several variations, this is how we make Antonio’s version of the Moscow Mule.

Ingredients:
2 oz. Vodka
1/2 Tbsp. Minced Ginger
1 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1/2 Tbsp Agave Nectar (Optional)
4 Mint Leaves
8 oz. Ginger Beer
Ice
Copper Mug

Directions:
1. Fill mug 3/4 with ice
2. Combine vodka, ginger, lime juice, and agave with ice in shaker
3. Pour shaken ingredients into mug
4. Top with ginger beer and stir
5. Garnish with mint leaves

Moscow Mule Recipe

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Easy Ceviche

Easy Ceviche Recipe - Gluten Free and Paleo Appetizer

Ceviche to me equals party food. It doesn’t matter if it is a party or not. I am always super happy when I eat it so I like to make it for dinner too. It’s extremely easy to make this recipe and a great appetizer to bring for potlucks. It’s guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser as long as your party peeps like things spicy. If not, just reduce the chiles or de-seed the chiles to reduce the spice level. This can be served paleo with plantain chips, vegetables, endive, or lettuce cups. Or, serve with tortilla chips or tostadas for gluten free.

Ingredients:
1 lb. Frozen Peeled and De-Veigned Shrimp
Bowl of Ice Water
1/3 Red Onion, Diced
Juice of 6 Limes
1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt for Ceviche and 1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt for Cooking Shrimp
1/4 Cup Cilantro, Chopped
1 Cucumber, Peeled and Diced
2 Serrano Chiles, Diced
4 Roma Tomatoes, Diced
2-3 Avocados, Diced
Plantain chips, vegetables, endive, lettuce cups, tortilla chips or tostadas

Instructions:
1. De-frost shrimp in a bowl of luke warm water
2. Bring a pot of water to boil
3. Add 1 Tbsp Kosher salt to boiling water
4. Prepare bowl of ice water
5. Add shrimp to boiling water and remove from heat as soon as shrimp turns pink and is cooked all the way through
5. Place cooked shrimp immediately in ice water to stop the cooking
6. Dice cooked shrimp and combine in a bowl with 1/3 Diced Red Onion, Juice of 6 Limes, 1 Tbsp. Kosher salt, 1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro, 1 Peeled and Diced Cucumber, 2 Diced Serrano Chiles, 4 Diced Roma Tomatoes, 2-3 Diced Avocados

Serves 6

Enjoy!

Easy Ceviche Recipe - Gluten Free and Paleo Appetizer

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Chilaquiles with Baked Tortillas

One of my favorite meals I had for the first time in the cafeteria when I worked at Mattel was Chilaquiles. I loved working at Mattel and the cafeteria was a huge perk. There were so many healthy options and it was so nice to be able to have delicious food without having to get in a car and drive somewhere. I always looked forward to the days Chilaquiles was the special on the menu. Traditionally a Mexican breakfast, Chilaquiles are often served with eggs but can also be seen as a lunch item on menus with chicken or carne asada. I finally decided to make them for breakfast and they were so delicious.

Easy Chilaquiles Recipe

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp Garlic
Cilantro
1/2 White Onion Quartered
1-2 Serrano Chiles
Avocado
Corn Tortillas
Unscented Coconut Oil
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 14.5 oz. can black beans
1 14.5 oz. can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
Cotija Cheese
Mexican Crema
Eggs Any Style – I prefer scrambled

General Instructions:
1. Bake the Tortillas
2. Make the Sauce
3. Heat the beans in small sauce pan
4. Make the Eggs
5. Assemble

To bake the tortillas:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Place tortillas on parchment paper covered baking sheet
3. Brush both sides of each tortilla with unscented coconut oil
4. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until crispy flipping halfway
5. Break up into small chip sized pieces

Baked Tortilla Chips

Baked  Tortillas

To make the sauce:
1. Combine the following in a blender and blend until smooth:

1 14.5 oz. can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1 Tbsp Garlic
1/2 White Onion Quartered
1-2 Serrano Chiles
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

2. Heat in small sauce pan

Easy Chilaquiles Recipe

To Assemble:
1. Put tortilla chips in sauce and stir to cover.
2. Place sauce covered tortillas on plate.
3. Top with eggs, heated black beans, cotija cheese, avocado, crema, and cilantro.

Easy Chilaquiles Recipe

Easy Chilaquiles Recipe

Enjoy!

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Homemade Sour Gummies

Healthy Homemade Sour Gummies

I have been seeing a lot of homemade gummies on pinterest and on instagram from some of my favorite food bloggers so I thought I would give it a try but I wanted to make homemade sour gummies. You have to understand any sour gummy candy has always been my favorite. Sour straws, sour worms, sour patch kids. I could seriously eat large amounts in one sitting if I let myself. I avoid them as much as possible because they are full of sugar and corn syrup. When I found out via the pinterest and instagram posts that grassfed gelatin gummies are actually good for you I became obsessed. They are a protein packed snack that helps tighten loose skin, improves digestion, helps joint recovery, and can decrease food allergies among many other health benefits.

I tried several recipes and ended up making up my own to get the flavor and texture I wanted.

Ingredients:
1/3 Cup Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
2/3 Cup Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
5 Tbsp Grassfed Gelatin
3 Tbsp Honey (Add more if you want it sweeter)

You can make these in any pan or container. I used these candy molds to make the gem and heart shapes.

Healthy Homemade Gummies

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan adding the gelatin last.
2. Heat on low while stirring with a whisk until the gelatin and honey are completely dissolved to combine all ingredients. Do not let boil.
3. Use a measuring cup to carefully pour mixture into candy molds.
4. Place in freezer for 10 minutes.
5. Enjoy!

You can store them in the refrigerator for several days, however they taste the best as soon as they come out of the freezer.

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BBQ Prosciutto Wrapped Pineapple

BBQ Prosciutto Wrapped Pineapple

We have been BBQing pineapple for some time now and the other day Antonio came up with the idea of BBQ prosciutto wrapped pineapple. It sounded delicious so we tried it and it definitely was. What a great appetizer. We served it with the ginger ponzu chicken, rice, and BBQ sweet bell peppers. This time I BBQ’d the chicken in whole pieces instead of skewers to make it even faster. Talk about a fun, simple, and quick weeknight dinner.

Ingredients:
Pineapple cut into spears
Prosciutto slices
Jalapeño (Optional)
Skewers

Directions:
1. Wrap each spear of pineapple with prosciutto.
2. Pre-heat BBQ to 350 degrees
3. BBQ for 8-10 minutes over direct heat rotating to cook all sides.
4. Add skewers after removing from BBQ

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Ginger Ponzu BBQ Chicken Skewers

Dinner really can’t get any easier than these ginger ponzu bbq chicken skewers. Ponzu sauce is a citrus sauce used in a lot of Japanese recipes. It’s made by simmering mirin, rice vinegar, katsuobushi flakes (from tuna), and seaweed (kombu) over medium heat. The liquid is then cooled, strained to remove the katsuobushi flakes, and finally the juice of one or more of the following citrus fruits is added: yuzu, sudachi, daidai, kabosu, or lemon. If you find it on a menu, most restaurants use the version of ponzu that contains soy sauce so be sure to confirm with the restaurant if it is or isn’t gluten free. My version of ponzu sauce is much simpler. I usually just combine citrus and soy sauce to make it quick and easy.

Ginger Ponzu BBQ Chicken

Ingredients
1 lb. Chicken Thighs Cut Into Cubes
1/8 Cup Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp Ginger
Juice of 1 Orange
Optional – Sriracha Sauce on the side

Instructions
1. Combine all of the ingredients except the sriracha in a bowl and place in fridge for about 30 minutes to marinate.
2. Place chicken on skewers and discard remaining marinade.
3. BBQ on direct medium for 5-6 minutes per side or until fully cooked. To prevent sticking, do not flip too early. To make sure each piece of chicken gets fully cooked, make sure to place the pieces of chicken loosely on the skewers.

Ginger Ponzu BBQ Chicken Skewers

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Gluten Free Japanese Meatballs & Sriracha Dipping Sauce

One of my favorite meals to have in Japan was Yakitori and my favorite type of Yakitori is the Japanese meatballs or Tsukune. So many people think of Japanese restaurants as being all sushi restaurants. Sushi is not the only thing Japanese people eat. There is shabu shabu, udon, soba, yakiniku, tempura, japanese curry, okonomiyaki, and so much more. In many cities in the US it’s very difficult to find something besides a sushi place for Japanese food. Luckily in LA there are a lot of Japanese neighborhoods with lots of different styles of Japanese food. One of my favorite Yakitori places in LA is called Shin Sen Gumi . Unfortunately most of the Yakitori dishes I love are prepared with soy sauce which has wheat and I get sick from almost immediately even if I have a very small amount. I am so happy to have a great gluten free Tsukune recipe to make!

Gluten Free Japanese Meatballs Tsukune

Serves 4

Tsukune Ingredients
1 lb ground chicken or ground turkey
1/2 cup Almond Flour
1 Large Egg
2 Tbsp finely chopped scallion whites
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Soy Glaze Ingredients
1/4 cup Tamari Gluten Free soy sauce
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp Honey
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp Tapioca Flour or Corn Starch

Dipping Sauce Ingredients
Mayonnaise
Sriracha Sauce

Instructions:
1. Combine all of the Tsukune ingredients using a stand mixer.
2. Form meatballs with 2 TBSP of the mixture or about 1 inch in diameter and place on a plate. Place in fridge for approx 30 minutes.
3. Combine the soy glaze ingredients in a small pot over low heat until combined. Or, place in microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute and stir.
4. Heat BBQ to medium high leaving 1 of the burners off.
5. Place Tsukune on skewers. I prefer to use these short skewers or these Paddle Skewers with 2-3 meatballs per skewer because they are perfect for serving and much easier to handle on the BBQ.
6. Grill over direct heat 5-6 minutes per side until cooked all the way through. Turn only once to prevent meatballs from sticking to the grill if you turn them too soon.
7. Move skewers to unlit burner and brush with glaze. After 2 minutes turn and brush with glaze.
8. To make the sriracha dipping sauce, combine mayonnaise with sriracha. I usually use 3 parts mayonnaise to 1 part sriracha. Add more sriracha if you want it to be more spicy.

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Japanese Meatballs Tsukune

This recipe is modified to be gluten free from this recipe.

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Bloody Mary Brunch

Bloody Mary Brunch Party

I love having people over for brunch and guests love skipping the long waits at the popular brunch spots so I came up with this new idea for hosting a Bloody Mary Brunch. What could be more fun than to create a serve yourself Bloody Mary bar for your guests? There are so many ways to get creative with a Bloody Mary. And, it’s easy to turn your Bloody Mary’s into the meal by including things like Sliders, BBQ Baby Back Ribs, Flavored Bacon, BBQ Bacon Wrapped Shrimp, and Pickled Eggs as garnishes. This is a special post I created just for the BevMo! Thirsty Times Blog. To see the full post with everything you need to host a Bloody Mary Brunch, click here.

Bloody Mary Brunch Party

Bloody Mary Brunch Party

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